Last year the school had an increase in its attendance for the third year in a row.
The whole school attendance was 95.7%. Unfortunately this only puts us broadly in line with the national average. As in all things at Sir Francis Hill, we want to achieve better than this.
We are also making changes to our stance with regards to unauthorised absence. We are having to do this due to our children who are Persistent Absentees still remaining high for another year at 9%, where the National Average is 4% and our unauthorised absences for last year showing us that we have significant number of children who have unauthorised absence during the year, not just for a family holiday.
As from 31st October any child who has 4.5 days unauthorised absence in a 6 week period will be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice. This will not include unauthorised absences for family holidays, unless the child’s unauthorised absence reaches 4.5 days in a 6 week period where some is unauthorised family holiday and some is for other unauthorised. All family holidays will continue to be unauthorised as is our school policy and leave of absence forms must be completed in adequate time, ideally 14 days before the holiday requested is taken, but currently no penalty will be issued solely for these.
An unauthorised absence is when the child is away from school without the permission of the school. For example, an absence will be unauthorised when no reason for the absence is given despite the school trying to make contact with the parent to ascertain a reason, a child arrives in school after 9.30am without the school being previously informed of a reason i.e. medical appointment or in a case where the parent might support the reason for absence but the school do not.
It is the responsibility of the Head Teacher, not the parent, to determine whether absences are authorised or unauthorised. Parents who are at risk of being issued a Fixed Penalty Notice will be sent a warning before the penalty is issued. These warnings may therefore be sent before the date of 31st October.
A fixed Penalty Notice is a strategy used by schools to address unacceptable levels of attendance of children at their school under the following legislation:
Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 places upon parents a duty to ensure that their child receives efficient full-time education either by regular attendance at school or otherwise
Where a child is a registered pupil at a school and the parent fails to ensure that child’s regular attendance at school the parent is liable to be prosecuted for a criminal offence under Section 444 of the Education Act
In cases where this duty is not being fulfilled Section 444B of the same Act empowers the Local Authority to issue a Fixed Penalty of either £60.00 or £120.00.